Tigers enter stadium for third and final scrimmage
LSU will hold its third and final scrimmage of preseason camp Tuesday afternoon in Tiger Stadium as it steps up preparation for the Sept. 1 season opener against North Texas.
“It’s a big deal, because it tells us where we’re at as a team,” running back Alfred Blue said after practice Monday. “We know it’s important to us, so we’re going to go out and give our all, so we can know where we stand for the game.”
This scrimmage will be the last best opportunity for players fighting to secure a role to impress the coaches.
“It’s us putting on film how we want to play this year,” defensive end Barkevious Mingo said. “The coaches are going to analyze it, put people where they see fit and get everything rolling. We need to leave a good impression and play well.
“When we go into Tiger Stadium, our coaches tell us, ‘We don’t go there to play around; we go there because that’s where we play our games. You play like you’re playing a game there.’ So they’re trying to get those guys that are trying to secure spots to have that mentality so they can see how they can help this team out.”
Veteran players said the last scrimmage is still important, even if their spot on the depth chart is secure.
“I’ve got to show I’m consistent,” senior wide receiver Russell Shepard said. “This is kind of the last opportunity to show the coaches that you’re ready going into the season. You always want to get off to a fast start, and that last scrimmage before the first game is a good opportunity to get the confidence of the coaches, the quarterbacks and your peers.
“You want to end on a good note going into the season and being able to have the confidence of your team and let them know that you’re ready to play and you’re ready to be a big part of this team.”
The first scrimmage Aug. 11 was moved indoors because of the rain. The second one last Thursday was in Tiger Stadium, which was an eye-opening experience for some younger players.
“I think the biggest thing is just going out into the stadium again,” quarterback Zach Mettenberger said. “A lot of young guys the first time in there were just looking around at how big the place is instead of really focusing on the scrimmage, and hopefully we can go out there and get that wide-eye feeling out of those young guys, so when we strap it on against North Texas, we’ll be ready to go.”
Working on North Texas
The Tigers likely will work against some North Texas schemes Tuesday after working exclusively against their own in the first two scrimmages.
“We just started transitioning into North Texas,” offensive lineman Josh Dworaczyk said. “Obviously, in camp, we focused pretty much on going against our defense and getting quality reps on that, and now we’re really starting to focus on that first game and turning everything toward North Texas.”
Dworaczyk said coach Les Miles emphasized increasing the tempo in practice to accelerate toward game speed.
Offensive line healthy
The starting offensive line could be intact for the first time in the three scrimmages. Left tackle Chris Faulk and right tackle Alex Hurst sat out the first scrimmage because of injury. Faulk returned for the second scrimmage, but Hurst remained sidelined.
Both Faulk and Hurst practiced Monday, and Dworaczyk prounced the line “healthy and fresh.”
Free time for Dworaczyk
Dworaczyk, a sixth-year senior, began classes Monday like the rest of the Tigers, but his situation is unusual. He already has a degree in general studies, with a concentration on business, sociology and communications, which he received in the spring of 2011.
He’s finishing work on his second degree, in sports administration, which he’ll receive in December. Dworaczk has just one class along with an internship he’s doing with the sports information department.
“I have my class on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and my internship,” Dworaczyk said. “I’m excited about having more free time to start game-planning. I still have to take care of my schoolwork, but it’s not four or five classes. It finally feels like that last semester you’re supposed to have as a senior. It’s fallen into place for me.”
Mathieu doesn’t enroll
The first day of classes did not include one high-profile student. As of late Monday afternoon, former Tigers cornerback Tyrann Mathieu had not enrolled.
Mathieu, who was kicked off the team Aug. 10 and reportedly has since entered a drug rehabilitation center in Houston, has considered enrolling in school and paying his own way. Students have until Aug. 29 to enroll for the fall semester.